Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Choose The Right!

Nathan said.....

"If someone be's mean to me, I'll block them with my shield!"

Then he.....

True story. Although I made him show me the "shield" again after I cracked up and got my camera.

Clara in her blessing dress

Isn't she sweet? There will be more pictures after she's blessed on Sunday. :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I'm still here!

I havn't forgotten about the photography lessons! I've just been adjusting to this 4 kids thing. I havn't quite figured out how to get things done during the day when they're all awake. This is a good example...I started this blog post on Sunday afternoon. It is now Wednesday night and I'm finishing it.

Anyway...we've been having fun lately! We went downtown a couple times over the long weekend and enjoyed the Falls. They're huge with all the flooding we've had lately!

Me and the girls before we got on the Gondola (the cable car, not the Italian boat).

The view of The Falls from the Gondola.

The view from the bridge.

Afterwards, we walked around the park and played a bit. We were going into the little amusement park section and somebody gave us a ride pass that they hadn't used, so the kids got to go on some rides for free!

Gabe enjoying the airplane ride.

I'm a much funner mom now that Clara is out! lol

Monday, May 19, 2008

Clara's blessing dress

I have the best friends in the world. I belong to a private internet message board of LDS moms. Many of us are friends "in real life" and have invited each other to joing the group. Many of us have made lasting friendships because someone else invited someone to the group. It's an awesome group of women with many talents, but the best part is the support that is offered for anything that any of us may be struggling with. I've seen them provide Christmas for a struggling member, support each other through death, divorce, miscarriage (they were a huge support for me when I had mine), and celebrate achievements whether it be birth, marriage, a kid getting potty trained, a new job, or anything.

We even had a big weekend get together last year where 70-80 of us got to meet and just have a fun girls weekend out.

So one day I mentioned that Aria wore my blessing dress and I wanted to do something special for Clara too. I didn't want to just buy any old dress. So, my good friend, Onica pipes in and says she would actually crochet a dress for Clara. (I met Onica after she joined the board and we became fast friends.) Anyway, we both looked around online and found a beautiful pattern and she just finished it! I can't believe how stunning it is. I'm so lucky to have her as a friend!

Wanna see?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mae is 6 months old!

And she's SO cute! Here's her pictures, Rach.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

RPR - (random product review)

There are a few things that I got for Clara that I havn't had for my other kids that I'm totally loving so I thought I'd share. Plus, it gives me an excuse to show off more pictures.

Babylegs. They're these cute little baby leg warmers. I love them for layering and keeping her warm and for just wearing with a onesie or under a dress. Apparently they're great for little crawling babies too. Keeps their knees covered while they crawl all over. I just like how cute they are! You already saw this picture, but it shows the babylegs good, so here you go.

123 Swaddle blanket. My friend, Anna, got me this blanket for my baby shower and I LOVE it. It's just a gigantic receiving blanket, but it's flannel and cute and big enough to keep my huge baby from wiggling out of it as soon as I wrap her up. I don't know if it's the blanket or the fact that she's just a good baby or a combination of the two, but I swaddle her at night, prop her in the boppy which is in the co-sleeper by my bed and she's been sleeping for 7 hours straight. It seriously rocks. The blanket she's laying on in this picture is the one I have. I'm tempted to get a second one just in case it gets dirty or something. (you can see another pair of her babylegs in this picture too.)

Finally, these hats. These are the cutest hats ever. I'm not a fan of giant bows on babies, but these hats/headbands with the flowers are fantastic. The flowers are on clips, so you can mix and match the flowers on the hats/headbands to match whatever they're wearing. I even got one for Aria so they can match.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A nice little perk

So, the beauty of having my own baby around is I can take pictures of her whenever she's doing what I want her to do. I don't have to try and convince her to sleep for part of a session and wake up for the next part. If she's asleep and I want sleepy pictures...then I take them! Same goes for when she's awake.

Anyway, I have 2 sleeping pictures that I took a couple days ago. Just thought I'd share since she's dang cute and all.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Baby Clara is here!

Here's the cliff's notes version. Following this, the real birth story. :)

Clarissa Lily (Clara) joined our family early Sunday morning (May 4th) at 2:23 AM. She weighed in at 9lbs 9ozs and 21 inches long. Her head was 37 cms (if you don't know, that's really big...30-34 is average). The homebirth went beautifully and so far she's a really easy baby! She even slept for 7 hours straight last night!

And now....the rest of the story.

I do not handle pregnancy well. These last several weeks have been especially difficult. I've never had post-partum depression, but I get really depressed at the end of my third trimester. I even weirded out my midwife when I told her that I enjoy labor because it means it's almost over. (she had asked if I was mentally prepared for labor and I assured her that wasn't a problem.) But being pregnant...the waiting, the aches and pains, the nausea and vomiting...all of tough for me. (yes, it's worth the end result, but that doesn't make it any easier for me to go through at the time.)

So, as I passed the times that my other kids were born (they were all early), I was really getting down. I was not a nice person, I was crying at the slightest things (and if you know me, you know that's weird...I'm not a cryer), I had zero motivation to do anything and I just felt sad.

So, the evening of May 2nd, I had some contractions start. I was timing them and they were about 10 minutes apart, but painless, for 2 hours. I tried not to get my hopes up, but I was pretty sad when the contractions stopped and the pregnancy just went on as normal. I figured I should just get used to the fact that she wasn't ever going to come out. :)

That night I got a good night sleep for once and on May 3rd I took a nap to my hypnobabies CD. (I'm not sure if falling asleep renders them useless, but every time I listened to one, the hypnosis lady would put me to sleep. I figured it was worth it to keep doing it even if the only benefit was to be well rested when labor began.) I did find myself repeating the affirmations when I was in labor, so I must have gotten something out of them.

Anyway, about 10 PM on May 3rd I started getting contractions again. Gabe was still up, so I ignored them for the most part while I tried to get him to sleep. He was fighting sleep and as I laid with him I checked my watch a few times. The contractions were about 10 minutes apart so I figured it would be a repeat of the night before. Gabe finally crashed at about 11:15 and I noticed that the contractions were starting to hurt a bit more than they had previously. I said something to Dave and he whipped out his new iphone (he's all about the gadgets, man) and set it up to chart the contractions.

For the next hour they were eratic (every 3-7 minutes and varying in length), but hurting more and more. Dave kept insisting that this was not labor. He kept saying "I've seen you do this 3 times before and you're not in labor. They have to be regular and you're not in enough pain." I argued back, saying that I certainly wasn't in transition, but I was pretty sure it was labor this time. I wasn't 100% sure because I've never gone into labor before without my water breaking first, but it certainly was feeling like labor! lol.

So, I asked him for a priesthood blessing around midnight in which I was told to allow my body to do what it knew how to do and to trust it and follow it's cues. I was told that I would know when to call my midwife and not to worry about Clara because she was fine.

I went ahead and called my midwife after that just to find out which one was on call. One of them lives just a few blocks from me, while the other lives almost an hour away. Since it was the closer of the two, I just gave her a rundown of what had been going on and asked if she wanted me to just keep tracking them and call her when they were regular or she could just come over. She said to call back. So, we kept timing them. Over the next hour they went from 5 mins, to 4, to 3, all a little over a minute long and Dave finally agreed that I was in labor. We replaced the plastic on the bed (I had taken it off because it was noisy and uncomfortable to sleep on) and talked about whether or not we thought we had time to fill the birthing tub.

At 1:15 AM on the 4th, I called my midwife and she left to come over.

During the contractions, I had gotten into several different positions to see what was most comfortable. I tried laying on the bed, sitting on the bed, hands and knees, sitting on the birthing ball, and leaning over the birthing ball, but the most comfortable place for me was standing up, leaning against my dresser and rocking my hips back and forth through the contractions. I would alternate between willing my cervix to open and repeating "you can do this" under my breath. Since I preferred to stand and things seemed to be moving quickly, we opted against filling the tub.

The midwife showed up around 1:40, took one look at me and started setting up. I maintained my spot by the dresser and in the break between contractions I'd just kinda pace back and forth. (can I just say here that I so prefer labor without induction because of that glorious break between the contractions?)

Around 2 AM, the midwife checked me and I was 7 cms. This is also the time that Aria decided to get up. I had really hoped that if I went into labor in the middle of the night, my kids would just sleep through it. I was especially worried about Aria because she worries and gets anxiety and she had told me previously that she didn't want to be at the birth. (after watching an episode of "The Baby Story" when a lady had a water birth) Dave just took her downstairs and turned on a movie for her and, fortunately, she stayed there.

So, since I wasn't moving from my spot by the dresser and we weren't using the tub, there was a tarp also going unused near the tub. The midwife had Dave grab it and she laid it down on the floor where I was standing and not a moment too soon. As soon as it was down my water broke and things really started moving. At 2:20, I was fully dilated and could push. This was the only time that I felt my confidence waver. My right leg started to shake a bit and I worried that it might not hold me up while I pushed her out. But, 3 minutes and 1 push later, I had a new baby! The midwife guided her out and put her right into my arms where the first thing I checked was to make sure she was a girl. (I admit...since the ultrasounds were conflicting, I was never quite sure she was really going to be a girl.)

This was the best part. I backed up and sat on my bed and just held my new baby. There was no huge rush to cut the cord and whisk her away. I just held her. She wasn't crying, she just hung out there. The midwife tried to get her to cry just so she'd get a good deep breath (she was breathing, just not screaming about it) but she wouldn't have any of that. She just made faces that clearly said "leave me alone, I just got here and I don't want to cry about it right now!" I sent Dave to get Aria and my camera and I was suddenly so happy that Aria woke up that night.

You see, all along she's been asking when Clara would be here and I always said "we don't know, but it will be in either April or May." Near the end of April she came up to me one day and said "Mom, Clara told me she's coming in May." I just smiled and said "well, we'll find out, I guess!" As April came closer to ending, she kept insisting that Clara told her she was coming in May. Finally I asked, what day in May? And she said "May 4th." Sure enough, somehow Aria was right and she woke up and got to be the first one to see her new little sister that she's been so anxious to meet for so long. The cord hadn't been cut yet and the midwife asked Aria if she wanted to cut it. I kinda explained what it was for to Aria and she agreed that it would be cool to cut it. I don't even have words to explain how amazing it was to see my 5 year old daughter help bring her sister into the world with no fear or anxiety and so much love.

After that, we continued with our laid back approach. I held Clara for a while til I was feeling a need to push again. Then Dave held her while I delivered the placenta. I nursed her to help my uterus contract and she latched right on. Then the midwife took her and did the weight/meausements/apgar stuff while Aria took a turn taking pictures.

I felt (and still do) amazing. There's nothing like the intense relief you feel after pushing a baby out. It's like some sort of amazing adreneline high that takes hours to come down from. I didn't have any tearing or problems from the birth and was in the shower within the hour. I didn't even have the shakes that I've gotten after all my other births.

Clara is a dream. She seriously didn't cry for like half a day. It wasn't until she had a taste of being in the same room with her 3 crazy older siblings that ended with Gabe screaming about something that I heard her cry for the first time.

I'm so lucky to have my mom here too. Since everything happened so quickly, she didn't get here until a little before 5 AM. It was good timing for me though. The midwife left around 4:15 and Aria was still up but Dave had crashed. Gabe came wandering in and climbed up on my bed (completely oblivious to the new baby in the room) and went back to sleep in between Dave and I. I was nursing Clara, but was getting worried because Aria had fallen asleep at my feet (so I couldn't stretch out) and I couldn't figure how I was going to move them since I'd just had a baby and all. So I just sat there and waited for my mom to get here and save me. She moved the kids and took some pictures and held the baby and since then has just been fantastic in taking care of the older 3 so I can rest with Clara. I don't know what I'd do without her.

Oh, I need to mention her name. All my kids have some sort of special meaning to their names. Clara's was chosen shortly after I became pregnant with her. I had a hunch to go through Dave's family history and was looking at names when the name Clarissa jumped out at me. Dave is a direct descendant of this lady and I knew that was supposed to be my babies name. She's actually named after Clarissa Hancock Alger (granddaughter of John Hancock that signed the decloration of indenpence). Clarissa Hancock Alger and her husband were some of the first people to join the LDS church when it was organized. They were baptised in November of 1830.

Her middle name was chosen by Aria. A couple neat things about Lily are that my wedding bouquet was Lily's and Aria's middle name also starts with an "L" (and both my boys have middle names that start with "J".) (you were starting to wonder, huh?) I'll do a real photo shoot with her in the next couple of days...I'm still enjoying my babymoon!

Aria cutting the cord.

Being weighed by my awesome midwife. (9lbs 9ozs!)

Me, Aria and Clara after my mom got here.

And these are both today...1 day old.